VCA Woodlands Animal Hospital

How old is my cat?

Published: Nov 06, 2012

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Most of the time, animal shelter workers can accurately guess a cat's age if she was brought to the shelter with no information. Veterinarians can usually estimate a stray or adopted cat's age based on several physical factors. Using these tips, you may be able to determine the age of a feline you have taken into your home.

Cat's lifespan
Before you examine your cat to figure out her age, it's important to have a basic understanding of a cat's lifespan. According to Catster.com, many people incorrectly assume that cats age seven years for every one human year. In fact, felines age much faster than that in their first two years of life - they reach the approximate age of 15 during their first year, then by age 2, they are approximately 24 in human years. Each year after that, your cat will age about four years to every human calendar year. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that cats usually live 12 to 14 years, but can live much longer if you take steps to prevent pet health concerns such as parasites, dental issues and obesity in cats.

How you can determine age
You can generally tell a cat's age by her teeth, muscle tone, coat and eyes.

•   Teeth. Assuming the previous owner was negligent about teeth cleaning for cats, or the cat never had an owner to brush her teeth, older cats usually have more staining than younger felines. A cat who has a set of permanent, white teeth is about a year old, according to Catster.com. Some yellowing would indicate an age between 1 and 2, tartar build up points to an age closer to 5, and missing teeth can be proof of a senior cat.

•   Muscle. Older cats may be bony with protruding shoulder blades and hanging skin, while younger cats have muscle definition because they tend to be more active.

•   Coat. A younger cat typically has a soft, fine coat, but with age, a feline's fur can become thicker, coarser and have patches of gray or white.

•   Eyes. A healthy, young cat will have bright, clear eyes with no tearing or discharge. Cats over the age of 12 can have some cloudiness in their eyes, and their irises may appear jagged instead of smooth like a younger feline.

A cat's physical characteristics can be affected if she has led a hard outdoor life or if she has a medical condition. Your veterinarian will be able to give your cat a full exam and determine her age as well as diagnose any health problems that may need to be treated to give her the best life possible. 

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.

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